The Willingboro Public Schools Mathematics program is designed to meet the College and Career Readiness standards of the New Jersey Department of Education as indicated in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Mathematics (NJSLA). The philosophy of the NJSLS for Mathematics is for the students to understand the underlying mathematical concepts behind the procedures. This level of understanding allows for a greater command and appreciation of algebra and the application of mathematics to “real world” problems and situations.

To meet this challenge, The Willingboro School District has adopted the Eureka Mathematics program for all students in grades K-12. This program was developed by the Great Minds organization in partnership with the New York Department of Education (EngageNY) to promote understanding of mathematical concepts. The common goal is for students to understand the consistency of mathematical principles and properties as well as the application of mathematics to real-world scenarios.

From Great Minds.org:

“When we created Eureka Math—originally EngageNY Math—we did so with the intention of creating a truly new curriculum. One that was intelligently designed to teach math as a coherent body of knowledge that follows the proper learning progressions required for true math fluency, and not just a set of skills. A curriculum that would instill deep, conceptual understanding that students could build on as high as they wanted to while also allowing them to find the joy in the subject. We submitted those plans to the New York State Education Department and won the contract to create every grade of what is now known as Eureka Math®.

"Our goal is to help all students become fluent in mathematics. Fluency goes beyond just knowing how a particular process can be used to solve a problem. It also requires understanding why that process works. With Eureka Math®, students learn to think, strategize, and solve problems… not just get answers.” [Source Link, 2020]

“In mathematics, this means three major changes. Teachers will concentrate on teaching a more focused set of major math concepts and skills. This will allow students time to master key math concepts and skills in a more organized way throughout the year and from one grade to the next. It will also call for teachers to use rich and challenging math content and to engage students in solving real-world problems in order to inspire greater interest in mathematics” [Great Minds.org: Parent Roadmap, 2020]

Since 2018, our teachers have participated in extensive professional development on implementation supporting the implementation of this program.

Mathematics instruction focuses on conceptual understanding, but the students are encouraged to develop fact fluency, computational fluency, and procedural fluency along the way. These skills are embedded in the lessons, as all levels of instruction include fluency activities, application problems, conceptual development, and opportunities for both small group and individual practice. Most classes begin with a warm-up activity (which may be their fluency activity for the lesson). After that, they will spend some time working through the development of a concept and/or an application problem, practice problems, and typically receive a short homework assignment. Additionally, students should participate in a “debrief” activity where they discuss the mathematics that they learned and used. The results of this activity should help the teacher inform instruction for the following lesson(s).

Knowing that mathematical skills build upon each other, the authors of the Eureka program designed the curriculum to integrate different skills in such a way that previously learned skills are often reviewed and developed further as they support new learning. This spiral approach helps to ensure that students both build procedural fluency as well as understand the underlying mathematical concepts and do not simply “memorize procedures.” Once the students are able to make sense of the concepts, the simple procedures then have meaning and help the students to see the whole picture.

From Kindergarten through grade 5, mathematical topics focus on “The Story of Units.” Students are introduced to mathematical structures for counting as they learn to compose and decompose whole numbers to ten, then move to place value and continue composing and decomposing numbers to 100, 1000, and beyond. As students move into decimals, they are still composing and decomposing, but now they are doing it with whole numbers, tenths, and hundredths. Moving into fractions, they learn to compose and decompose whole numbers into equal fractional parts. Students are supported throughout the curriculum with mathematical models such as number bonds and tape diagrams that remain consistent throughout the Eureka series

Zearn missions each correspond directly to a Eureka lesson. The Zearn platform combines individual student practice with reteaching as necessary. Our K-5 classroom teachers divide their classes into groups, where some of the students interact directly with the teacher while others interact directly with Zearn or other stations. The groups rotate so that all students experience all stations.

Students start by counting within 5, then gradually move to within 10, 20, and 100 and 1000. They learn addition as it relates to counting and subtraction as it relates to addition. By skip-counting and organizing items into arrays, students prepare to learn multiplication as it relates to equal groups and area. Then they learn division as it relates to multiplication, equal groups, and area. The concepts extend to fractions and decimals in the same way so that students can apply similar structures and procedures to solve problems that involve fractions and decimals.

From Grade 6 through Grade 8, mathematical topics focus on the Story of Ratios. Building upon the Story of Units, students focus on the relationship of numbers and units using division (rates, ratios, proportions, and percents) as they further develop the concepts of algebra. As the students further develop the models of number bonds, tape diagrams, and area models, they begin to focus on the multiplicative relationships between numbers, units, and rates as they solve more complicated “real-world” problems. The models and procedures that they learned in elementary school are reviewed, expanded, and utilized as the students’ understanding of the complexity of mathematics increases. Student work on the operations of arithmetic is reviewed and “standardized” to form the basis of the foundations of Algebra.

For high school courses: Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Pre-Calculus, mathematical topics focus on the Story of Functions. Building on the algebraic concepts developed in middle school, students explore the relationship of numbers and ratios to rules and functions. By extending those rules to situations beyond “observable” measurements, students begin to explore the mathematical relationships that underlie Calculus. The mathematics learned at this level applies heavily to the business world in terms of analytics, probability, and projections as well as the worlds of science and medicine in terms of testing hypotheses, proving theories, calculating efficiency, etc.

Elective non-Eureka math courses that high school students can take include Financial Algebra, Statistics and Probability, and Calculus. These courses build on the fundamentals of mathematics studied in previous math classes and work to extend students’ abilities to apply their mathematical skills to everyday situations and solve real-world mathematics problems.